With the announcement of the All-Star teams coming this Sunday, here's the first of my series of All-Value All-Stars. Each of the players profiled have vastly outperformed their expected numbers or draft position, and are most likely carrying a majority of the first place teams out there. First up is my selection for Catcher, Alex Avila.
Coming Into The Season
Avila came into the 2011 season expected to be in a partial platoon with top free agent signee Victor Martinez. While Avila was expected to get the majority of the starts, it remained to be seen what value he would have for fantasy owners. He played in 104 games in 2010, but hit just .228 with a respectable 7 homeruns. ESPN ranked Avila as their 28th best catcher (based on their projections), which made him essentially a backup for two catcher leagues and a possible sleeper in AL-only formats.
His Performance To Date
He has been nothing short of stunning to this point however, as he has hit .303 with 10 homeruns, 28 runs scored, 46 runs batted in, and 3 stolen bases. He is currently ranked 3rd at catcher in Yahoo standard leagues.
Can He Continue This Performance?
To date, Avila is currently sporting a .363 BABIP, which is a bit higher than his career average. His walk rate and strikeout rates are both in line with his career and minor league numbers, while his OPS (.910) is currently higher than he posted at any level in the minors. That said, I believe that Avila will be able to keep hitting, and potentially could finish with a .295 batting average and 20 home runs. With the lack of performing catchers right now, Avila could finish the season as a top-5 catcher.